Jersey City BOE hopeful Rowan says Lyles contract renewal sparked candidacy

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Jersey City Board of Education candidate Mark Rowan, a 44-year educator in the public school district before retiring last year, said that the superintendent’s recent contract renewal was a clear example of “chronyism” that helped spark his candidacy.

Rowan, who has two master’s degrees and is also a specialist in education for educational administration and supervision, says his qualifications decisively make him the best candidate to serve on the board.

Rowan, 66, also called for more civility between the BOE trustees, further recommending a break in the “school to prison pipeline” and a decrease in student drop outs.

Hudson County View then asked Rowan to clarify his school to prison pipeline remarks.

Additionally, the longtime educator slammed the controversial contract renewal of Superintendent of Schools Marcia Lyles in December, calling the move a clear example of “cronyism” that was a big motivator for him to put his name on the ballot.

“I think Dr. Lyles is a nice lady, I think she’s done an adequate job. Personally, I think the December board meeting where her contract was renewed was a travesty,” Rowan exclaimed.

“In 1989, when the state took us over, took the Jersey City school district over, they liked to throw around words [like] ‘nepotism,’ favoritism’ [and] ‘chronyism.’ And while I have nothing personally against Dr. Lyles, I think that renewal of the contract in December is a perfect example of chronyism.”

Rowan added that he believes some of the most important responsibilities of a BOE trustee are voting on the contracts of the superintendent and the teachers, respectively, and for someone to receive a contract without a vote is wrong.

Furthermore, Rowan also questioned the state Department of Education’s takeover of Jersey City public schools in 1989.

The district still does not have complete local control, largely because the schools were turned into “an employment agency” for the state – as far as Rowan is concerned.

“In my opinion, when they came in and took us over in 1989, my gut feeling is they turned the district into an employment agency for their people. They’re here one, two, maybe three years, lining their resume and they’re gone.”

Rowan closed by stating that he respects the other 11 candidates seeking a three-year term on the board and that he’s hoping things don’t devolve into WWE-style antics before Election Day on November 8.